In Their Shoes – Dipen Ambalia

Book: In Their Shoes
Publisher: APK Publishers
Author: Dipen Ambalia
ISBN-10: 81-907372-4-4
ISBN-13: 978-81-910918-4-1
Binding: Paperback
Size: 5.5" x 8.5"
Number of pages: 166
Language: English
Publishing Date: April 2010
Edition: First

Every face has a story. The person riding the bicycle, the kid with the runny nose, the woman bargaining with the vendor or the man standing at the bus stop, every one is a part of a story. Story of their dreams, emotions, situations. Story of their lives.

With “In Their Shoes” Dipen Ambalia has tried to step in the shoes of 17 different people, see the world through their eyes, feel their emotions and spin the dreams of their desires. The book has given voice to 17 ordinary but diverse characters.

It starts with Bindiya, A Drummer’s daughter. She introduces you to her family and a day in her life. They are poor and have no luxuries but the girl in her childlike enthusiasm sees her world in very different manner. She is not sorry for her family and is proud to be her daddy’s girl. Moving ahead, Vidya takes over the reins. A 24 year mentally challenged girl befriends you. Vidya’s world revolves around her parents, her teacher, her best friend and her dog. She shares her dreams and her interests, giving you an insight of her simple mind.

In contrast to happy and content Vidya, the author introduces you to Rajeev. Rajeev is nursing his broken heart. He is just jilted by his crush and is badly hurt. With him, you learn his unfortunate first love story and life’s lesson that he learns from depression. Going on the next story, we meet a Phobic. Life is unpredictable and worth every moment but that seems to be a scary thought to a phobic, a chronic phobic to be precise. The list of his phobias is never ending and so is Vineet’s list of pranks. Naughty and bold eight standard young adult has strong views about school, books, education- In short everything that his world revolves around. Moving ahead, from brash naughty kid you com are asked to wait and watch the nature’s offerings and introduced to life’s lessons by Jeevansukh baba. Next in the line is a struggling writer who is a self-made man. Despite of all the odds, he manages realize his dream. Even today, being a writer is looked down upon as a profession but he fights against the stigma and emerges victorious.

In the next story you come across the Gatekeeper of an Old age home, he takes you on a tour of his past and urges you, not to take your elders for granted for they are the ones who have made you who you are. Talking about taking things for granted, a regular traveler of Mumbai locals will tell you that in Mumbai, you cannot take time, small pleasures and local trains for granted; for Mumbai’s lifelines – local trains rule your life. They are not just a means of commute but also a meeting point, second home, socializing joint etc. This is what is the next story is about. It is about a day in the life of a regular Mumbai Local train commuter. This is followed by interaction with a 77-year-old man living in a 140-sq.ft hut. It is about how he landed up at his present situation from an ordinary mansion at his native place, how ungrateful close ones were to him and how accepting life the way it is right now.

Hope can take over all logic or should I say sense and logic do not go hand in hand? The next story deals with this idea. Here, a tantrik tells us about how he dupes people and how easy it is to make a fool of even the most educated and practical beings! However, he is nothing in front of a corrupt politician who is next in line. The politician is aware what is wrong and how can he get the right things done but he is too busy is giving back to those who were not fair with him. He can change the face of the nation but he is more interested in taking care of his next generations.

Next, we move on to a media reporter who gives you first hand tips in being a good, sensational media reporter followed by the unfortunate but extraordinary story of a visually challenged person. In this world, when there are 10 people to de motivate you there are also some angels that take care of you. Even then one should remember that he/she is his/his biggest support! An Engineering student giving you a glimpse of his life follows this. He also provides a set of tips that would help you to tackle viva and he swears by these tips.

The penultimate story is day in life of a software engineer, his frustrations, his expectations and the generous guy that he is, he also shares a list of tried and tested formulae that will help fellow software engineers to stick to their jobs and avoid their bosses. The book ends with Shabbo’s story. Shabbo is a prostitute cum bar dancer.

The characters have no connection with each other nor are they related and this brings in variety of thought. They are ordinary, everyday faces. The simple fact that the author has tried to voice their lives makes the book an average read. There is variety in content but the central theme is same - fight against odds and enjoy life.

Dipen has done a satisfactory job with the book. The writing style is technically average. It follows the same style that most India writers use. Hinglish dialogues, exaggeration of words, use of upper case, bold fonts hinder the flow of the stories. The writer is very clear about what he wants to convey but somehow the message gets monotonous after the first four stories. The book gives you a general idea about the seventeen characters. A little more depth in emotions would have elevated the level. The book is good in parts; the author has done a good job with Vidya and Bindiya. These two stories stand apart from the rest. Overall, pick up the book if you are looking out for a light general read.

Rating: 3/10

This is an author requested review and is also posted here.



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